Rams Will Prioritize Bringing Back Rodger Saffold

Posted Feb 22, 2014

Rams General Manager Les Snead and Head Coach Jeff Fisher each addressed the future of T/G Rodger Saffold, who enters this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, while addressing the media Friday.

Though originally drafted as a tackle, Saffold ended 2013 as the Rams’ jack-of-all-trades along the offensive line, appearing at both tackle positions in addition to right guard. The versatility shown by Saffold is one of the lineman’s greatest strengths, according to Fisher.

“I think ultimately, he’s going to be an outstanding guard in this league,” Fisher said. “That doesn’t mean to say that he couldn’t play either tackle, because this year, he did. He played some really good football at the tackle spot.”

At the time of Saffold’s move to guard, in the Rams’ Week 8 game in Indianapolis, the move was made from a standpoint of team need, as G Harvey Dahl was out while T Joe Barksdale had taken the reins at right tackle. The move in turn benefited Saffold as much as the Rams’ offense, as he showcased a second position he not only could perform capably at, but excel. Despite not playing the position in any of his three previous NFL seasons, Saffold helped the offense thrive in its transition to a much more run-heavy offensive scheme through the second half of the season.

Saffold’s status represents a key aspect of how the Rams’ offensive line will take shape in 2014. Re-signing the four-year veteran would solidify the team’s outlook at guard, a position that saw a platoon of members a year ago due to injuries, as well as providing a more than tenable option at tackle, should veteran Jake Long need additional time to return from offseason ACL surgery.

The efforts to re-sign Saffold coincide with a particularly deep draft class along the offensive line.  In something of a draft anomaly, Fisher enters this season having never chosen an offensive lineman in the first round in his previous 18 drafts as a head coach, a trend that could be bucked this spring. With a pair of first-round selections, including the second overall pick, there will be ample opportunity for the Rams to choose one of this draft’s highly-touted tackles.

Whether or not the Rams’ brass chooses to pursue that route, the prospect of retaining a player of Saffold’s experience and versatility remains a priority.

“I’ve learned from people wiser than me that being versatile like that, to be able to play both guards and tackle, that’s a nice asset to have,” Snead said.